LOOKING back over the years of boxing champions there is one thing that is obvious – they all frequently used the jab in a variety of forms. The jab is the first punch a boxer will learn and although it is the most basic of strikes, it is one of the most important punches in any fighters’ repertoire. A technically solid and speedy jab can be used in a number of different situations.
- Setting up and maintaining the distance
It is a range-finder as most combinations start with a jab as a way of closing the distance and finding the proper range.
It can be used to score points from either long or medium distance, and over time this continual point scoring will gradually wear down your opponent.
- Breaking up your opponent’s attack
An integral part of a fighter’s defence. By using the jab it stops your opponent getting too confident and can keep them at a comfortable distance.
- Opening up an attack
By altering the type of jab it can open up your opponent to other more attacking punches.
The most common faults that boxers make when throwing a jab are:
- The boxer falls in towards their opponent and over-commits due to not having their feet in the correct place.
- Bringing the jab hand back low from the punch; this opens up a potential counter-punch for your opponent.
- The punch is ‘telegraphed’ – this gives the opponent an obvious clue as to when you will throw the punch.
- The boxer allows the punch to become an upper-body movement and neglects to use the lower body to initiate the shot.
- There is an urge to try and hit too hard. The desire to throw the punch hard often results in too much of the boxer’s weight transferring to the front leg (see the first common fault).